Officer Alex revisits the site of his earliest days in blue
Darkness had settled in when I glided to a halt in a dimly lit parking lot next to a large cheaply made building covered in an expensive brick veneer, and I didn’t even realize I was smiling until my lips actually parted into a full grin. It was a rare trip across town to a place I hadn’t been in years.
Suite G-30 at 5600 Brainerd Road has had an interesting past. Not a “good” interesting like the Read House or the Hunter Museum; more like an “Overlook Hotel from The Shining” kind of interesting, right down to the hideous nekkid lady from Room 237.
Through the same poorly tinted windows, with the use of a flashlight I could see the interior of the suite that had been our first police precinct. It had been gutted from wall to wall and there wasn’t even a ceiling left, which made me wonder where the nearly sentient black mold in the ventilation systems had been forced to move on to.
My time here was brief but very impressionable; I was a baby then, a fledgling to the dark blue polyester I’m wearing even as I type, but I don’t even have to close my eyes to remember how it used to look. Oh, I have an uncanny memory, sure, but in this case I remembered mostly because it looked as shitty then as it looked now, only with far fewer police cars in the parking lot (as mine was now the only one).
The lobby used to be manned by a human being who was eventually put back into a district, since answering 911 calls turned out to be more important than the five people that walked in the door at the back of a mall each year for a police report to be made. Patrol supervisors used to marvel in the back hallway at having their own office since burglary and robbery detectives were never moved out there as planned, and a locker room was built towards the end for a workout room that never materialized (unlike the aforementioned black mold). It was an experiment that was never budgeted for in an era where change for the sake of change was embraced, and eventually abandoned like the precinct itself.
One particular office had a sliding glass door and the walls were carpeted in gray, and just outside was a light built from parts from Radio Shack that had the words “On Air” taped to it in handwritten bubble-letters. It had been a DJ booth for one of the best rock stations to ever grace this town, “Fox 102.3,” and the stories from those days are now local media legend. But it is a well-known scientific fact that prior to the deregulation and corporate takeover and eventual automation of “non-personality-driven radio,” actual human DJs then were perverts and degenerates and the atrocities that took place here were both legend and representative of the Kenobian phrase of “never finding a more wretched hive of scum and villainy.” So imagine the irony of such an Indian burial ground becoming a police precinct? It was perfect.
From this parking lot I could see the street where I got my first write up. (I stood on a street while someone served a misdemeanor warrant after 11 p.m. I was never interviewed, and pronounced guilty of “conduct unbecoming” in an investigation I never knew was taking place, and warned of more serious punishment up to and including termination, without ever being told what my conduct was in either sentence of the generic letterhead from the IA captain.)
It was also the parking lot where I said goodbye to a veteran officer at shift change. I watched him pass on from this earth a mere 45 minutes later on Amnicola Highway, his hand in mine, after a tragic car wreck.
And best of all…I could still see the Krispy Kreme across the street…where they had built a police precinct across from a doughnut shop.
It was a hole in the wall, almost literally, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t love it like a cheap first car.
I left that wretched spot and carried on one last old tradition from there: Passing by the doughnut shop, I’d always refused to stop in after nearly driving through the center of it.
But that is literally a story…for another day.
When officer Alexander D. Teach is not patrolling our fair city on the heels of the criminal element, he spends his spare time volunteering for the Boehm Birth Defects Center.